If Majora’s Mask was reimagined as a traditional, 2D Zelda title, and then someone at Nintendo decided to slap on some visuals reminiscent of American Saturday morning cartoons and remove the time rewinding mechanic, then that’s where you’d find developer Onebitbeyond’s dungeon crawler. The Swords of Ditto is a roguelite action RPG that creates a unique adventure for each new hero of legend in the relentless fight against evil. And The Swords of Ditto is also unbearably adorable.
The game focuses on your battle against the evil witch Mormo. You are an amazing, randomly generated warrior, ready to take her down once and for all. Or at least, you would be, if the witch didn’t kick your ass in an instant. Flash forward 100 years and you wake up in bed as a new character. You quickly run off to the grave of the fallen hero, grab the sword placed there and voila, you’ve gained the powers of Ditto. But this time around, you only have four days to triumph over Mormo.
This establishes the game’s flow pretty quickly; grab the sword, explore the world for items and loot, fight Mormo, die, repeat. What makes this challenging is the rougelite elements and endless opportunities to get sidetracked. Your main objective, which are to destroy crystal “anchors” to weaken Mormo’s power and find Toys (magical items) that can help you along the way. But because the world layout and dungeon layout where you will find these anchors are all randomly generated, you will inevitably run across a number of interesting side quests that can make you lose track of time, in a good way.
Combat in Ditto is straightforward, but the addition of rolling and items that let you customize your basic abilities keeps things fresh. Landing a melee attack refills a magic gauge that powers special weapons. My personal favorite is The Foot, which literally drops a giant foot from the sky to stun enemies. It’s this mix of wacky items and the visual charm that makes me think Ditto was built around the concept of a child playing with his toys in a sandbox, fighting against imaginary creatures and exploring an amazing world only they can see.
Speaking of, the world will grow more or less dilapidated based on your success or failure. Even if you’ve died ten times in a row, the residents of Ditto still seem to live on with a relatively cheery disposition, which helps to offset the rather grim and dreary world you create when you fail. And you will fail quite often.
All the charm and creativity on display won’t save you from The Swords of Ditto‘s somewhat nebulous weapon hitboxes and occasionally punishing RNG. But if you’re looking for a fun and quirky adventure game that also offers some solid couch co-op moments, then don’t let that stop you. The Swords of Ditto is a refreshing glass of water during the summer games drought and offers a solid top-down adventure experience.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.